Qatar to attend final OPEC meeting this week which will be followed by the GCC summit later this month.

Qatar has revealed it is quitting the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in January 2019.

According to Reuters, representatives from Qatar will attend their final OPEC meeting this week, before going it alone to focus on cementing its position as the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.

A non-political decision

OPEC was formed in 1960 by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Venezuela. Qatar’s decision to leave the pact after 57-years was not driven by politics despite the ongoing dispute with Saudi Arabia.

Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs, said Qatar would abide by its commitments laid forth at the group’s final meeting on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Saad al-Kaabi Qatar quits OPEC

“Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning,” the minister said.

“For me to put efforts and resources and time in an organization that we are a very small player in and I don’t have a say in what happens … practically it does not work, so for us it’s better to focus on our big growth potential,” he said.

Qatar is fast becoming an influential player in the global LNG market based on its huge reserves of the fuel in the Gulf, with annual production of 77 million tonnes per year.

Al-Kaabi said the decision to quit OPEC was not political and highlighted the country’s long-term strategy and plans to develop its gas industry and increase LNG output to 110 million tonnes by 2024.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both OPEC members, along with Bahrain and Egypt, imposed a political and economic boycott on Qatar in June 2017, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and forging close ties with Iran. Doha denies the allegations.

“A lot of people will politicize it,” Al-Kaabi said. “I assure you this purely was a decision on what’s right for Qatar long term. It’s a strategy decision.”

“We will make a big splash in the oil and gas business soon,” he said.

The minister added that Qatar Petroleum plans to raise its production capability from 4.8 million barrels of oil per day to 6.5 million barrels over the next ten years. Doha also plans to build the largest ethane cracker in the Middle East within the same time frame.

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Author

Omar Hajjar is a journalist based in the UK. An investigative reporter, he has lived in 3 different countries in the Middle East over the past 10 years.

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